Washington farmers got $50.7 million in trade war payments. They lost a lot more

By Wendy Culverwell

Tri-City Herald

Thousands of Washington farmers received millions in federal aid payments intended to compensate for losses from trade disputes.

But industry leaders say the payments fell well short of the losses farmers suffered as the Trump Administration negotiates new relationships with a mix of tariffs and talk.

“The mitigation payments did not even come close to remediating the large losses our dairy farmers took because of the trade battles in 2018 and that are still going on with China,” said Jay Gordon, policy director for the Washington State Dairy Federation.

A searchable database of farm aid payments obtained by the Associated Press shows the U.S. Department of Agriculture paid $50.7 million to 7,538 Washington farmers for 2018 damages. That’s an average of about $6,700 each.

Washington is home to nearly 36,000 farms, according to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture.

That means about one in five farms received aid dollars in amounts ranging from $2 to $174,450.

Nearly half of all Washington aid went to cherry growers, followed by wheat, dairy and corn.